When it makes sense, we like to mine for gems at the car shows we hit and present them to you as breakout "featurettes"—spotlights, if you will—to introduce you to some of the best cars hidden in plain sight. This particular intro is bittersweet, though, as Wekfest L.A. 2018 was the last for Eddie Rodriguez's timelessly styled 1995 Miata. After years on the show circuit, Rodriguez is putting the old girl out to pasture and parting her out. Color us heartbroken.
The NA8 is something special, like few other Miata we've ever encountered and certainly with a build execution that few ever undertake. Its clean cosmetics are as good as any area to begin with, the roadster attracting eyeballs at first with Pit Crew Racing nose and tail conversions from Japan that change out the OEM lights and give the Mazda an Austin Healey vibe. Adding to the Miata's JDM-ness is a rare Kanspo hardtop and just as uncommon Longchamp XR4 rims at all four corners.
Over its life, the BP-ZE inline-4 engine in Rodriguez's convertible has been ITB'd and blown, but it currently rocks a turbo setup charged by a Garrett snail. The immaculate engine bay is shaved and tucked, trimmed by tasteful dimple died plate, and for the observant enthusiast there's a retrofitted and highly polished Ford valve cover sitting atop the mill. Under the hardtop, the RHD cabin sports an era-correct Nardi steering wheel, vintage-styled gauges in a custom fabbed center console, and is festooned in one-off diamond stitched leather upholstery.
It's sad to see such an impressive piece of automotive customization reach the end of the line, but we are totally glad we got the chance to see it one more time. Kudos to Rodriguez on the one-of-kind build—we doubt there will ever be another like it.